Santiago Cazorla scored twice for Villarreal in a fast-paced 3-2 win over 10-man Malaga in the Spanish league Monday, with all five goals coming in the first 34 minutes.
The win puts Villarreal in second place with 12 points from five games, one point behind leader Valencia. Barcelona also has 12 points but a lesser goal difference, with Real Madrid in fourth on 11 points.
Cazorla slotted in the winner in the 34th after controlling an assist from Brazil forward Nilmar, having earlier equalized to make it 1-1 in the 21st.
Malaga midfielder Eliseu Pereira opened the scoring in the fourth by latching onto Antonio Apono’s free kick with his left foot. The next 30 minutes featured nearly nonstop end-to-end action, and Cazorla leveled with a hard shot after taking a pass from Marcos Senna.
Two minutes later, Giuseppe Rossi scored Villarreal’s second from another assist by Nilmar. But Venezuela forward Jose Rondon leveled the match level again in the 29th when he rose to connect with a pass from Ghana forward Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.
Eliseu was sent off in the 41st after headbutting Carlos Marchena, who dramatically fell to the ground, giving Villarreal room to protect its lead.
On Saturday, Real Madrid was held 0-0 at Levante, Barcelona beat 10-man Athletic Bilbao 3-1 and Valencia won 2-0 against Sporting Gijon.
On Sunday, Mallorca beat Real Sociedad 2-0, Espanyol won 1-0 against Osasuna, Almeria beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-0, Getafe overcame Racing Santander 1-0, Hercules won 2-0 against Sevilla 2-0 and Atletico Madrid beat Zaragoza 1-0.